s                                              De vice                                     Wi MAX                         ...
Abstract4G wireless nomadic devices in the form of USB dongles and Pocket modems are fast becomingthe preferred devices fo...
ContentsKnowing your 4G Wireless USB dongles                                01What is a Connection Utility (CU) and how it...
Knowing your 4G Wireless USB dongles4G wireless USB dongles can be categories as a simple 4G wireless device. The basic sy...
What is a Connection Utility (CU) and how it worksConsumers nowadays generally assume that drivers and managing programs f...
Step 1                                                            Step 4   Once the device is connected to the laptop/PC, ...
Introduction RNDIS / USB CDC drivers andthe concept of HostlessUniversal Serial Bus (USB) is a specification meant to estab...
One of the main functions of a remote NDIS is to convert a slave USB interface into a LAN interface, similar to abroadband...
What is “Hostless” and how it worksArchitectureRNDIS is a convenient protocol that allows a compliant USB dongle to appear...
Figure 7 show a series of the auto installation process of a Hostless device when attached to a host controller for thefirs...
Integrating advance utility features in a Hostless environmentEnd users are conventionally familiar with the conventional ...
Web MessageWithin the Web based UI, the CGI allows flexibility to the operator to insert notification information of upgrade...
Why go HostlessInnovations in 4G USB dongle developments towards a Hostless approach in access network connectivity andman...
Hostless for OperatorOperators constantly add, remove and change product strategies as part of marketing campaigns and ser...
Figure 10: Hostless customizable Web                                                                                      ...
ConclusionOperators, chipset and device manufacturers now have the flexibility and choice of approach when it comes to acce...
Greenpacket, Bringing You Total Hostless FreedomOperators around the world have successfully leveraged on WiMAX to start r...
References1. Maravedis – 4GCounts Quaterly report – issue 14 (April 2011)2. Intel - Enabling small form factors and energy...
About Green Packet     Greenpacket is the international arm of the Green Packet Berhad group of companies which is listed ...
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Hostless : Simple Connectivity For WiMax Devices

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4G wireless nomadic devices in the form of USB dongles and Pocket modems are fast becoming the preferred devices for wireless broadband access amongst 4G operators. Due to benefits of lower cost and smaller form factor, 4G wireless nomadic devices now account for 39%* of total WiMAX devices shipped in 2010, and this tendency is set to continuously increase in the coming years as 4G becomes pervasive.

Greenpacket 4G nomadic devices now provides an option to allow the use of generic Virtual Ethernet link protocol (USB CDC or RNDIS) to connect with these external host controllers running on any operating systems as an alternative to the traditional CU approach. We call this feature “Hostless” connectivity. Very similar to how an end-user would connect a USB memory stick, this new Hostless feature can be visualized as a generic version of a CU, borrowing the native USB Ethernet driver and management features from the host operating system.

This paper explains the implementation scenarios of both the CU approach and Hostless approach to match specific needs. We will then dive in detail to understand the concept background of Hostless by looking at the system architecture and describing the step-by-step of how Hostless works within the host terminal from an end user perspective.

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Transcript of "Hostless : Simple Connectivity For WiMax Devices"

  1. 1. s De vice Wi MAX r tiv ity fo ess: onnec ostl le CH pSim www.greenpacket.com APPLICATION NOTE
  2. 2. Abstract4G wireless nomadic devices in the form of USB dongles and Pocket modems are fast becomingthe preferred devices for wireless broadband access amongst 4G operators. Due to benefits of lowercost and smaller form factor, 4G wireless nomadic devices now account for 39%* of total WiMAXdevices shipped in 2010, and this tendency is set to continuously increase in the coming years as4G becomes pervasive.Generally, 4G wireless USB dongles cannot function alone and require an external host controller inthe form of a terminal (example: personal computer, netbook, tablet) to process the data packets,which normally runs on a specific protocol governed by the host operating system (e.g: Windows,Linux, Mac). Therefore, conventional installation of a 3rd party application is required to manage theremote access connections. Commonly known as a “Connection Utility (CU)”, this 3rd partyapplication manages all data flows in the background and provides status of theadministrator-defined connection.Alternatively, technology for 4G chipsets has advanced significantly and now there exist a simple wayfor 4G wireless USB dongles to be connect to the internet. Greenpacket 4G nomadic devices nowprovides an option to allow the use of generic Virtual Ethernet link protocol (USB CDC or RNDIS) toconnect with these external host controllers running on any operating systems as an alternative tothe traditional CU approach. We call this feature “Hostless” connectivity. Very similar to how anend-user would connect a USB memory stick, this new Hostless feature can be visualized as ageneric version of a CU, borrowing the native USB Ethernet driver and management features fromthe host operating system.This paper explains the implementation scenarios of both the CU approach and Hostless approachto match specific needs. We will then dive in detail to understand the concept background ofHostless by looking at the system architecture and describing the step-by-step of how Hostlessworks within the host terminal from an end user perspective.* Maravedis – 4GCounts Quaterly report – issue 14 (April 2011)APPLICATION NOTE
  3. 3. ContentsKnowing your 4G Wireless USB dongles 01What is a Connection Utility (CU) and how it works 02 - Limitations of CU implementationIntroduction RNDIS/ USB CDC drivers and the concept of Hostless 04What is Hostless and how it works 06 - Architecture - Hostless installation process - Integrating advance utility features in a Hostless environmentWhy go Hostless 10 - Hostless for chipset/device manufacturer - Hostless for Operator - Advantage of Hostless for SubscriberConclusion 13Greenpacket, Bringing You Total HOSTLESS Freedom 14References 15APPLICATION NOTE
  4. 4. Knowing your 4G Wireless USB dongles4G wireless USB dongles can be categories as a simple 4G wireless device. The basic system architecture of a typical4G wireless USB dongle consists of a baseband processor, a radio front-end, memory, and an USB interface.To minimize the size and cost of the 4G wireless USB dongle, device manufacturer tend to rely on the processing powerof an additional host controller outside the 4G wireless USB dongles via a standard physical data protocol link. Figure 1show the standard USB interface between the USB dongle and an additional host controller (generally a personalcomputer) required to process the dataflow. In addition to the physical data protocol link, device drivers is required toallow the host controller to interact with the 4G wireless USB dongles. Intel WiMAX Connection Intel WiMAX Connection ® ® Host 2400 Baseband Chip 2320R Dual-Band Radio RCI System-in-Package Control IQ Front USB/SDID TX Modem End LMAC MAC Driver USB/ AFF SDIO CTRL Synth 2xIF 2xRX Memory Intel Solution Figure 1: Example of an Intel 4G solution which represents a basic architecture of 4G USB dongles, we can see that an additional host processor, device driver, and USB link is generally required. 01APPLICATION NOTE
  5. 5. What is a Connection Utility (CU) and how it worksConsumers nowadays generally assume that drivers and managing programs for all the commonly used USB devicesexist and supported by the operating systems. In fact, most USB hard drives, cameras, mouse, keyboards, flashmemories, headsets and other mass market and matured consumer electronic devices do already exist and is prettymuch a plug-and-play. On the other hand, with 4G nomadic wireless devices being relatively new, compatible devicedrivers are not yet installed in the common operating system.The conventional implementation is to have the chipset or device vendors to develop a specific application programwhich contains the drivers and device/data management features which is installed as a driver to enable managementfunction in the host controller. This application is commonly known as a “Connection Utility” (CU). Figure 2 shows thearchitecture relationship between a CU and host computer. COMPUTER CU application 4G USB Dongle (with CU) Device Driver Data Flow Management RF Frontend Connetion Status Management & Display (Value-added Service) Baseband Browser (Value-added Service) Storage of CU Installation Files USB Data Power USB Figure 2: Conventional architecture and relationship of a connection utility and host controller.Traditionally, a CU is an application program that runs in the background of the OS while managing data flows and statusof the 4G wireless USB dongle. The CU application is commonly embedded within the memory of the device with all theOS associated installation and execution files included. Upon plugged for the first time, the associated installation fileswill be detected and installed. A typical installation procedure for a CU is illustrated in Figure 3. 02APPLICATION NOTE
  6. 6. Step 1 Step 4 Once the device is connected to the laptop/PC, the Installation will take several minutes to complete Auto-Installation program will start running. with a message prompt (e.g: InstallShield Wizard Complete). Click Finish to complete the process. Step 2 Step 5 Read the License Agreement message prompted. Select “I accept the terms in the license A computer reboot might be required. agreement”, click “Next” to continue. Step 3 Click “Next” to accept the default installation folder OR click “Change” to specify a different location, then click “OK” and “Next”. Figure 3: Installation steps for a typical Connection Utility program.Limitations of WiMAX CU implementationFunctioning as a client installed within the host terminal, CU has consistent dependencies and requirements that varywidely according to host software system (OS), protocols and interfaces. WiMAX emerging as a new 4G standard fastbeing adopted also means that constant innovation and new chipsets and devices from various vendors are constantlybeing rolled out with improved features and functionalities. Over 198 device variations are certified with WiMAX Forumwith hundreds more being compliant and constantly adding to the list. This means that interoperability to the hostterminal and customization is required leading to a longer service commercialization timeline to be implemented.This inherent drawback might be a hassle to certain operators looking for an instantly deployable 4G USB device tobring service offerings as fast as possible to the market due to dependencies on the remote access connection utility. 03WHITEPAPER NOTEAPPLICATION
  7. 7. Introduction RNDIS / USB CDC drivers andthe concept of HostlessUniversal Serial Bus (USB) is a specification meant to establish a generic communication link between devices and a hostcontroller. To extend this concept even further, USB communication device class (USB CDC) is a composite USB deviceclass primarily used for modems. USB CDC supports computer networking features, providing an interface fortransmitting Ethernet or ATM frames onto a physical format. Therefore, to assist the connection of wireless USB devices,all modern operating systems now supports this built-in generic Virtual Ethernet link protocol for USB devices.Microsoft Windows versions prior to Windows Vista do not support the networking parts of the USB CDC, instead itpromotes Microsofts own derivative named Microsoft RNDIS, a serialized version of the Microsoft NDIS (Network DriverInterface Specification). The remote NDIS is an application programming interface (API) that is specifically designed forthe use in USBs and other plug and play devices. With a well defined network driver interface specification, chipset anddevice vendors no longer need to define a message set that is independent from I/O buses when writing NDIS devicedrivers. Due to the commonality of the name RNDIS, we will generalize USB CDC and RNDIS as “RNDIS” forconvenience within the context of this paper. TCP/IP TCP/IP Remote NDIS NDIS to Ethernet Driver Remote NDIS Remote NDIS Host Device Miniport Core Driver Remote NDIS API (RNDIS-USB Interface) USB Transport USB Bus Driver USB Driver USB Controller Driver API (Bus-Slave Interface) USB Controller (HW) USB Slave Driver USB Slave (HW) USB Cable Software architecture of USB network devices using RNDIS Protocol Figure 4: Conventional architecture and relationship of a Hostless device and host controller. 04APPLICATION NOTE
  8. 8. One of the main functions of a remote NDIS is to convert a slave USB interface into a LAN interface, similar to abroadband gateway implementation. The host controller which is typically a Window-based PC is connected to thegateway, where the Ethernet traffic can be passed between the Host controller to and from the USB device. For systemsusing the legacy TCP/IP interfaces, the remote network driver interface can also be used to allow USB connectivity. Thismeans that no changes is required in the older host drivers or additional invest required for new firmware within the USBnetwork device. Green packet WiMAX Green packet WiMAX Hostless USB device Hostless USB device RNDIS Windows series platform CDC on linux/MAC-OS platform Figure 5: Applying RNDIS/CDC protocol on WiMAX USB devices. 05APPLICATION NOTE
  9. 9. What is “Hostless” and how it worksArchitectureRNDIS is a convenient protocol that allows a compliant USB dongle to appear as a simple Ethernet link to the operatingsystem, removing the dependency and responsibility of connectivity management from the CU, a client on the hostcontroller to the device (firmware) or otherwise known as a “Hostless” device. This new Hostless feature can be visualizedas though it is a universal CU as it functions by borrowing the native RNDIS driver and management features from thehost operating system. Similar to the CU’s approach in connectivity management, instead of installing a client on the hostcontroller Hostless enabled 4G USB dongles also have the ability to store, process and display device status,but through a web browser interface. COMPUTER 4G USB Dongle RNDIS/CDC (with CM) Device Driver RF Frontend Browser Baseband Connection Status Display RNDIS Support (Value-added Service) Connection Status Management Data Flow Management USB Data Power USB Figure 6: Conventional architecture and relationship of a HOSTLESS device and host controller. 06APPLICATION NOTE
  10. 10. Figure 7 show a series of the auto installation process of a Hostless device when attached to a host controller for thefirst time. Hostless installation process Step 1 Upon attaching the Hostless USB dongle to the notebook/PC for the first time, an error message will automatically prompt the user, neglecting this message allows the operating system to move forward with the installation process. Step 2 A USB mass storage device will be displayed while the RNDIS driver automatically installs, upon completion, a recognizable drive will be created which indicates a successful installation. Step 3 Checking the available network connections shows that the connection has been successfully established where the user can now access the internet services via the WiMAX network. Figure 7: Automatic installation process of a Hostless deviceTo the end users, the Hostless approach means an actual full plug-and-play (zero-installation) experience. Once thedevice is plugged in, it connects to the network immediately via an embedded Connectivity client within the devicefirmware. The whole experience and behavior is similar to how a user would connect to a fixed modem today. 07APPLICATION NOTE
  11. 11. Integrating advance utility features in a Hostless environmentEnd users are conventionally familiar with the conventional Connection Manager (CM) (a Software Client that incorporatesboth the CU function with a GUI and other advance modular features and funtions) implementation and notification thatcomes along with the graphical user interface (GUI). This is critical as part of the whole nomadic and mobile usage of USBbased dongles as there exist a difference in user experience when compared to a fixed access gateway. In the fixed accessgateway scenario, the device is normally placed in a fixed location, thus not requiring an additional client (CM) to performmanagement of the connection or provide connectivity status information to the end user. In the case of a USB dongle, thisis critical as the usage environment changes with movement, thus the connectivity status is constantly changing whereconnectivity status notification is important as a form of interaction with the user. Similarly, in the scenario of Hostless, thiscan also be implemented with the simple approach via the web.Web-based FeatureThe nature of the web and its design allows complete flexibility for the Hostless architecture to utilize web-redirection orHTML pop-up to provide the end-user with device status display as a form of notification interface similar to the CMapproach which is normally communicated via the graphical user interface (GUI).Web RedirectionThe web redirection feature in Greenpacket’s WiMAX Hostless device redirects all web requests to the “Web based UserInterface (UI)” page (redirection portal) when the WiMAX network is lost or not connected. This page can be customized bythe operator with notification information; for example, when the WiMAX network connection is lost due to poor radio signal,and upon user trying to access a specific website via the explorer, the web redirection will kick in and automatically redirectsthe session to the default URL to allow the operator a channel to informing the users that there is a problem with the networkconnections and provide suggestive guideline to the end-user in restoring the connection.DNS Cached NotificationWeb redirection is triggered with the device reporting a private device IP in the DNS response when the WiMAX connectionis not available. A drawback exist as most web browsers automatically caches the DNS lookup request in order to speedup future request, thus in the scenario that when the WiMAX connection is re-connected, there is no way to refresh the webbrowser (domain name) to clear the DNS cache table with redirection still persisting and the user will still be redirected to thedefault cached “Web based UI” page. The only approach to clear the DNS cache is to restart the browser application andhow can this be done.The simple workaround exist as an additional step with DNS Cache Notification, where in the scenario that when theconnection is re-established and upon user trying to access the internet via the web browser, a re-direction happens wherethe user is brought to the DNS Cache Notification page that informs the user to restart the web browser and upon a restart,the user experience will return as usual. 08APPLICATION NOTE
  12. 12. Web MessageWithin the Web based UI, the CGI allows flexibility to the operator to insert notification information of upgrades,guidelines, promotions or announcements.Auto HTTP/FTP UpdateHostless implementation supports HTTP based update feature and OMA-DM mechanism. This allows the operators whohave deployed HTTP update servers or OMA servers to instantly migrate to Hostless without additional investment orstaff re-training. Similarly, operators implementing TR-069 can perform provisioning and configuration managementthrough HTTP or FTP protocols. 09APPLICATION NOTE
  13. 13. Why go HostlessInnovations in 4G USB dongle developments towards a Hostless approach in access network connectivity andmanagement will create a transformational change for chipset and device manufacturer to fast-track device creation andproliferation into the market as well as benefit operators and end-users in simplifying service creation and utilization.Hostless for chipset/device manufacturerEver since the development of wireless modem emerged in the form of USB dongles, there has been a significantdemand due to the simplicity and compactness of the form factor, USB dongles has brought about true personalbroadband to wide adoption. It is no surprise that device manufacturers are constantly finding ways to bringdifferentiation with the number of vendors having similar category of product offering.The main transformation that Hostless brings about the chipset and device manufacturer is the significant time-to-marketadvantage as it is instantly usable out of the box and a guaranteed trouble free functionality over time. Due to its simplearchitecture, developers no longer need to maintain several component suites/versions of CU to ensure compatibilitywith different operating systems, interfaces and communication protocols. GUI customization of Hostless is done basedon HTML programming, adding significant convenience to the overall functionality to provide service information notavailable through the CU.Innovations and improvement of RNDIS and CDC driver by OS developers ensure rich features, compatibilities and anoptimized performance is constantly maintained on the host controller Leverage existing RNDIS/CDC for Solution available out of box Plug and play interface Optimized 4G performance enabled Compatibility on all OS by Laptop/PC native driver QUICK Shorter Time-To-Market START • Reduced development and support time/cost • Optimized performance ensured by OS developers 10 Figure 8: Value proposition of Hostless implementation to Chipset and Device manufacturersAPPLICATION NOTE
  14. 14. Hostless for OperatorOperators constantly add, remove and change product strategies as part of marketing campaigns and service packagesplans to continuously stimulate subscriber or average revenue per user (ARPU) growth. The myriad availability of 4Gwireless USB dongles in the market is also an advantage to operators, but truth to fiction for a 4G WiMAX operatorwanting to moving from one device offering to another or implement a variety of device offering requires detail strategiesin place.Operators taking the path of using native CU provided by the device vendors will need to ensure that customer supportis enhanced with sufficient technical and product training to be able to assist subscribers on device issues resulting fromconnectivity.With Hostless implementation, operators targeting mass consumer market can now significantly bring theservice/device to market almost instantly as the native device in ensured to interwork on the subscriber end with anyhost controller as there are no dependency on OS, language, interface and protocol. Delivering something that issimple and easily accessible. Transparent to OS language Easy maintenance/management Compatibility for operators Education Free installation Reduced customer support Instant compatibility, interoperability and reduced customer support • Lower cost of software maintenance and customer support • Easy customization onweb GUI Figure 9: Value proposition of Hostless implementation to Operators 11APPLICATION NOTE
  15. 15. Figure 10: Hostless customizable Web based user interfaceAdvantage of Hostless for SubscriberBenefits to subscriber are most significant with the change in usage trends. Speed of access, flexibility of portability, costof the device and simplicity in configuration are key aspect that user look for when selecting a device. The device has totruly transform itself to be as simple as possible as a user regard the USB dongle as just a device to allow them inaccessing the internet and not a device that they expect to interact directly with.To the end user, installation of a HOSTLESS device is almost instant on any host controller running on any OS that isconfigured on any language through a common universal USB interface, a true plug-and-play experience. Simple 123 setup for subscribers Common recognizable interface Accessibility anytime, anywhere, Compatibility on all OS on any device Enhanced end-user experience • Common trouble-free experience 12 Figure 11: Value proposition of Hostless implementation to end-usersAPPLICATION NOTE
  16. 16. ConclusionOperators, chipset and device manufacturers now have the flexibility and choice of approach when it comes to accessnetwork connectivity management with the addition of Hostless now supported in all Greenpacket 4G Wireless NomadicDevices that includes the UH high-gain USB dongle, UT USB dongle and Pocket modem.Table 1 shows the generic feature supported by both the CU and Hostless implementation with each having its uniquevalue proposition. Features USB Dongle with CU USB Dongle Hostless Additional application required YES NO Required Hard drive Space > 2MB <500kB Processed by USB dongle and Device status data Limited displayed through browser Can function alone without NO YES host processor Value added Service option YES and flexible Limited Support background service YES NO 13APPLICATION NOTE
  17. 17. Greenpacket, Bringing You Total Hostless FreedomOperators around the world have successfully leveraged on WiMAX to start realizing the dream of true WirelessBroadband Freedom. At Greenpacket, we have helped many WiMAX Operators achieve this through our best-in-classand award-winning USB modems.Let us show you new perspectives on how to effectively extend the new age in Hostless connectivity and meet thedemands of your subscribers.With Greenpacket, limitless freedom begins now!Free ConsultationIf you would like a free consultation on empowering your subscribers with seamless mobility and extending a betterconnectivity experience, contact us at marketing.gp@greenpacket.com (kindly quote the reference code DWP0820when you contact us). 14WHITEPAPER NOTEAPPLICATION
  18. 18. References1. Maravedis – 4GCounts Quaterly report – issue 14 (April 2011)2. Intel - Enabling small form factors and energy-efficient performance with an integrated WiMAX chipset solution.3. http://www.intel.com/technology/wimax/2400.htm 15APPLICATION NOTE
  19. 19. About Green Packet Greenpacket is the international arm of the Green Packet Berhad group of companies which is listed on the Main Board of the Malaysian Bourse. Founded in San Francisco’s Silicon Valley in 2000 and now headquartered in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, Greenpacket has a presence in 9 countries and is continuously expanding to be near its customers and in readiness for new markets. We are a leading developer of Next Generation Mobile Broadband and Networking Solutions for Telecommunications Operators across the globe. Our mission is to provide seamless and unified platforms for the delivery of user-centric multimedia communications services regardless of the nature and availability of backbone infrastructures. At Greenpacket, we pride ourselves on being constantly at the forefront of technology. Our leading carrier-grade solutions and award-winning consumer devices help Telecommunications Operators open new avenues, meet new demands, and enrich the lifestyles of their subscribers, while forging new relationships. We see a future of limitless freedom in wireless communications and continuously commit to meeting the needs of our customers with leading edge solutions. With product development centers in USA, Shanghai, and Taiwan, we are on the cutting edge of new developments in 4G (particularly WiMAX and LTE), as well as in software advancement. Our leadership position in the Telco industry is further enhanced by our strategic alliances with leading industry players. Additionally, our award-winning WiMAX modems have successfully completed interoperability tests with major WiMAX players and are being used by the world’s largest WiMAX Operators. We are also the leading carrier solutions provider in APAC catering to both 4G and 3G networks. For more information, visit: www.greenpacket.com.San Francisco · Kuala Lumpur · Singapore · Shanghai · Taiwan · Sydney · Bahrain · Bangkok · Hong Kong Associate MemberCopyright © 2001-2011 Green Packet Berhad. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, transmitted, transcribed, stored in a retrieval system, or translated into any language, in any formby any means, without the written permission of Green Packet Berhad. Green Packet Berhad reserves the right to modify or discontinue any product or piece of literature at anytime without prior notice.

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